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Members of the urology team

The urology team at Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals has introduced a new prostate biopsy procedure – known as ‘template biopsy’- to provide more accurate detection of prostate cancer in men.

Consultant Urological Surgeon, Mr Philip James, who recently joined the Trust, explains: “A traditional biopsy is still an effective way of diagnosing prostate cancer for the majority of patients, but it only samples a small area of the prostate and can provide a ‘false negative’ for up to 30% of men – meaning their cancer is not diagnosed. We will continue to monitor these men through Prostate-specific Antigen (PSA) tests and if this raises concern, perform another biopsy, but this can all lead to a delay in diagnosis.”

“The new procedure enables more thorough assessment and precise mapping of the prostate through the use of a simple template. The template divides the prostate area into very small sections and a biopsy is methodically taken through the holes of the template in each area. Each biopsy is sampled individually and tracked – so if cancer is detected we know which area of the prostate is affected. This also helps us to stage the cancer more accurately.”

As the test is performed under general anaesthetic (as opposed to a traditional biopsy which can be performed with a local anaesthetic) and therefore isn’t suitable for everyone. However, it is particularly useful for men who have had repeated negative traditional biopsies or are under surveillance of their prostate cancer (whereby cancer has been diagnosed but is ‘slow growing’ and can be managed without surgical intervention or other treatment).

Fellow Consultant Urological Surgeon, Mr Nimalan Arumainayagam, adds: “This is a really positive development for patients at Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals, who would have previously had to travel to another hospital for this procedure. Template biopsy reduces the number of false negative results compared to traditional transrectal prostate biopsies and aims to give men more certainty regarding their diagnosis.


Pictured above are Mr Nimalan Arumainayagam (fourth from the left) and Mr Philip James (sixth from the left) with their urology colleagues in theatre, showing the new template biopsy equipment


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